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Looking back and looking ahead: Getting ready to extend Saamuhika Shakti

Embracing a holistic approach came with new challenges and learnings that now informs us as we are getting ready for the next phase of Saamuhika Shakti, launched in 2019 to catalyse inclusive circularity in India.

Manjula and her child live in one of the communities where the Saamuhika Shakti partners are working to enable informal waste pickers to have greater agency to lead secure and dignified lives.

With Collective Impact methodology chosen as guiding force, we brought in 10 partners, all experts within their field, to tackle different challenges faced by waste pickers as had been identified through the ethnographic survey, with the objective of addressing several concerns together — not just water or education or work safety or earning capacity or housing & social security — but all of these. To provide waste pickers holistic solutions with equity and equitable access to outcomes by all populations as foundational benchmarks of the initiative.

We adopted the Collective Impact approach — a highly structured method to build a collective of community members, organizations, and institutions that advance equity by learning and working together — as it catered to all that we wanted to achieve, and provided the  collaborative framework needed to overcome complex socio-economic problems. 

The ten partners of Saamuhika Shakti are collaborating closely with each other and the communities to simultaneously solve for issues faced by informal waste pickers and their families.

‍As we successfully close the first phase of Saamuhika Shakti, and march strongly into the second phase this January 2024, we’re proud to report that our partners in Bengaluru, India, have not only demonstrated  that collaboration is possible, but have also showed that by working together, more is possible than the sum of its parts. 

However, we didn’t start this way. 

Our aim to shift power relations, create inclusive societies, and ensure equity for the long term required patience, adaptability, and continuous communication, as it is not easy to completely reimagine how different actors collaborate, that too in a system where too many organizations are used to working in isolation from one another. 

The work was not without challenges… Read the full story at

Despite their massive economic and environmental contribution waste pickers and their families, particularly the women and children, struggle to lead healthy and productive lives.